Dear Research Advocate, House leaders will likely act soon after the July 4 recess to pass an FY18 budget resolution. No word on when the Senate might act. Reportedly, the House budget resolution would instruct appropriators to spend more on defense than in FY17, significantly more, in fact, than is allowed under the defense “sequestration cap” established by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA). In contrast, non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending would be limited to a level at least $5 billion below the NDD budget cap. This increase in defense and decrease in NDD spending is actually more “moderate” than the $54 billion reallocation proposed in the president’s budget. And neither the...
Eradicating disease seems like an elusive pipe dream but not if you ask Donna Cryer , president and CEO of the Global Liver Institute. “9,000 days ago, doctors told me I had seven days to live,” said Cryer. “I believe in our ability to continually adapt and innovate and conquer disease”. Cryer was joined by Research!America board member Dr. William Hait, global head, Janssen Research and Development, and fellow board member Dr. Mark McClellan, director, Duke-Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke University for an interactive panel discussion titled, A World Without Disease: Can We Get There? , at the BIO International Conference in San Diego, California on June 20. Research!...
Dr. Barbara McCrady recalls interviewing a woman who used to pass out on her bed before her husband came home from work. Suspecting something was amiss, the couple spent two years visiting sleep specialists and neurologists. Nobody suspected that the cause of her early slumbers was alcohol. The woman was drinking one liter of alcohol per day. McCrady, distinguished professor of psychology, University of New Mexico and Director, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions, was among the speakers for a congressional briefing titled, The Changing Patterns of Women’s Drinking and Their Impact on Public Health, at the Rayburn House Office Building on June 22, 2017. “This underscores...
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) has released the report, “Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward” which found that current evidence does not support education campaigns encouraging the adoption of specific interventions to prevent mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. The committee, chaired by Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Research!America board member, conducted an extensive scientific review to provide recommendations for public health messaging and future research. Commissioned by the National Institute on Aging, the committee cited “encouraging...
As the Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), I am often asked: what is drug discovery? It is the “innovation engine” that drives breakthroughs in treating diseases. Diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s, are complex. Though the cause of Alzheimer’s isn’t fully understood, scientists continue to uncover new processes that contribute to it. And each new finding into the cause of the disease represents a potential target for drugs to treat it – and an opportunity for innovation. When the ADDF was founded in 1998, the pipeline of drugs in development for Alzheimer’s was limited. The few drugs being developed almost all focused on the same target, beta-...
Dear Research Advocate, It has been a week of reminders about severe health threats facing our nation. At a screening of excerpts from Janet Tobias’ forthcoming film Unseen Enemy , a panel of infectious disease and economic experts sounded the alarm about how devastating the next pandemic could be. The film reminds us that it is not if , but when a pandemic will strike, potentially taking tens of millions of lives around the globe. Juxtapose that reality with this: 1) we are severely underinvesting in the public private partnerships essential to defeating infectious disease worldwide; 2) our nation has no standing fund for rapid response to deadly global health threats; 3) a CDC initiative...
In the 18 months since former President Barack Obama announced the Cancer Moonshot Initiative (CMI), led by then-Vice President Joseph Biden, great strides have been made in the mission to accelerate the pace of cancer research. Among the goals of the initiative is to increase collaboration between public- and private-sector organizations, and government agencies to develop new methods of targeting cancer. CMI’s emphasis on innovation – specifically immunotherapy – and new approaches to research are especially important for rare cancers such as mesothelioma because traditional research and treatment methods often do not work. Immunotherapy, which uses a person’s own immune system to help...
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) remembers the exact moment when he grasped the gravity of the opioid epidemic. As he prepared to give a speech in Taunton, Massachusetts in 2014, he asked the mayor and police chief what was the biggest issue facing their town. “We’ve lost seven people to overdoses in just the last couple of weeks,” they replied. Two years later, he said, Massachusetts lost 2,000 people to opioid-related deaths. Sen. Markey joined other speakers to discuss this epidemic at the Washington Post’s program Addiction in America co-hosted by Battelle on June 21, 2017. “Unless we put in place the necessary prevention and treatment programs, the epidemic will explode,” he stressed. More...
At the Alzheimer’s Association, we launched a bold campaign titled “The First Survivor.” The ad shares our unwavering vision of achieving a goal that is not yet possible – having someone survive Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps you’ve seen it. The ad describes a future state – but one that can’t come soon enough for the Alzheimer’s Association or the 5.5 million Americans living with the disease and their families. Today though, Alzheimer’s is fatal. There are no survivors. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only leading cause that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased 89 percent; while deaths associated...
Dear Research Advocate, At this week’s American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Advocacy Forum, the participants’ energy and determination was palpable as they prepared for a day of meetings with their respective congressional delegations. It was a privilege to address the forum, but I wasn’t the main event. It was more than a little unusual to see David Axelrod and Karl Rove on the same stage; tragically, both have experienced the loss of a parent to suicide. They spoke from the heart and inspired advocates to do the same, counseling them to make - and keep making - the case for investing in research and prevention. Rove emphasized: “Make sure your member of Congress hears about...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco